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Casa Esperanza Surpasses Fundraising Challenge

Community donations and several major gifts will fund the shelter's Transitional Living program through December

Casa Esperanza announced Friday that the homeless shelter and services organization has met and surpassed a $250,000 fundraising challenge, with a series of donations from throughout the community and several major gifts received since the matching challenge was presented to the community on June 1.

The support will enable Casa Esperanza to continue operating its Transitional Living program through December. The Transitional Living program provides shelter and the specific services that prepare those who have been homeless for re-entry into housing and jobs.

Casa Esperanza met and surpassed its campaign goal with the help of a $250,000 donation from businessman and philanthropist Harold Simmons, a part-time Montecito resident; $50,000 from the Wallis Foundation, under the leadership of Jack Baker; and $75,000 from longtime supporter Barbara Cartwright.

The $250,000 matching grant investment, announced in June, was provided through the generosity of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Sara Miller-McCune, the Gildea Foundation and the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.

From June 1 to July 30, Casa Esperanza also received more than 400 contributions from individuals and organizations throughout the community, totaling $125,000, and a new in-kind contribution from the St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara for $50,000 through its donation of Parish Nursing expenses, previously paid for by Casa Esperanza.

“Thanks to these investments, Casa Esperanza can now guarantee that our Transitional Shelter program and the hundreds of people helped though this successful program will be maintained through Dec. 1, when the Winter Shelter program begins,” said Mike Foley, executive eirector of Casa Esperanza. ”This success on behalf of the homeless is directly linked to the lifelong leadership and commitment of these philanthropists and organizations to solve the issue of homelessness.”

Short-term debt that was incurred in the previous fiscal year to meet the needs of the increased number of homeless people who sought help at Casa Esperanza as a result of this intense economic downturn, will now be paid in full.

While Casa Esperanza can now continue the Transitional Living program through December, in order to keep the doors open and other core programs operating, each year Casa Esperanza must raise $1.2 million, as government funding accounts for just 38 percent of the annual budget. From now through June 30, 2011, Casa Esperanza still must raise $784,000.

To meet this ongoing need and to keep the momentum going to help pay for the many hundreds of people who will seek refuge at Casa Esperanza this coming year, an anonymous investor has offered an additional $100,000 challenge matching gift. The countdown date will be announced in the near future.

“On behalf of the hundreds of homeless people who seek help, and the hundreds who move from homelessness to housing every year as a direct result of Casa Esperanza services,” Foley said, “thank you to all of our donors who make this lifesaving work possible.”

— Juliana Minsky is a publicist.

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